Highland Park Distillery is located in Kirkwall, one of twenty islands north of Scotland that are part of the Orkney Islands.
It is one of only a handful of distilleries that still retains a traditional malting floor, turning each batch of malt by hand, in what is a physically demanding process. To malt the barley, they steep it in the mineral rich water from the Crantit spring, before transferring it to the malting floor to slowly germinate. When it is ready, the barley is then placed in the kilns where the aromatic peating process begins.
One of the fundamental flavours in Highland Park single malt whisky is the delicate, sweet, aromatic peat smoke, which has given Highland Park its unique character since 1798. The Orkney Islands have an abundance of this sweet, heathery peat, which is around 4000 years old and is carefully selected from Hobbister Moor. The peat cut is a mixture of textures and aromas ranging from a more floral heather-rich top layer, to a darker, denser material, the mixture giving the resulting smoke a slow burning and complex aroma.
Orkney, the home of Highland Park, is unusually blessed with a wonderfully temperate climate, with neither extreme cold or hot temperatures, perfect for a long, cool maturation in traditional warehouses.
Traditional oak casks are used, all seasoned with dry Oloroso sherry, which contribute to the distinctive richness in the resulting whisky. Spanish oak casks seasoned with sherry give colour, spice and dried fruit character, whereas American oak sherry seasoned casks give lighter, sweeter vanilla and butterscotch flavours. Sherry oak casks are far more expensive but the view at Highland Park is that they are worth it for the rich character and natural colour they provide to the maturing spirit.
Each individual batch of Highland Park is drawn together from a variety of casks, contributing an array of distinct, unique flavours and additional harmonisation for up to six months perfectly marries them together. The impact this marriage has on the whisky is nothing short of stunning and ensures consistency, as well as adding complexity and exceptional balance on the palate.
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1000 ml, 40.0% abv Scotland IslandHighland Park 'Svein' is the first of the Warriors Series. It is approximately 90% ex-American oak and 10% ex-European oak, and is named after Svein, one of the central characters mentioned in the legendary Nordic book Orkneyinga Saga. This book charts the journeys and innovations of the Nordic people and warriors in and around Orkney. "the nose is full of soft earthy smoke and vanilla and honey aromas. There are also hints of wood spice, cereals and orange oil" "a mix of woody, spicy notes along with honey, vanilla, burnt caramel and some dried fruits, particularly sultana and tangy candied orange. The soft earthy smokiness is again prominent"
- Litre Bottle.
1000 ml, 40.0% abv, Scotland (Island)Part of the Warriors Series, Einar was crafted as a tribute to one of the most feared and ruthless Vikings of his time. Einar was a hard and successful Viking, often venturing on treacherous long voyages. American & European oak casks. "a mix of aromatic wood spices, cinnamon, cedarwood and oak. Vanilla, malty cereals, golden syrup and a whiff of earthy smoke"
- Litre Bottle.
700 ml, 40.0% abv, Scotland (Island)Released in 2011, Highland Park's Leif Eriksson is a limited edition Single Malt. This unique expression celebrates the achievement of the first European traveller to reach America over a thousand years ago. It is wholly matured in bourbon casks and American oak sherry casks, unusually, there is no European sherry oak influence. It is all honey sweetness from the peat and a delicious maltiness. Yellow gold in colour, Highland Park Leif Eriksson has a honey-tinged sweetness of orange blossom on the nose with suggestions of vanilla, spicy dried oak, mango and melon. Soft vanilla and sweet barley on the palate with a hint of grape, it has a finish of Muscovado sweetness balanced by wisps of Orcadian peat smoke.
700 ml, 40.0% abv, Scotland (Island)Highland Park 'Harald' is named after Harald Fairhair, the King of Norway, who set up the Orkney earldom and was one of the founding pioneers of spreading the Vikings and their heritage around the northern hemisphere and developing their army. "aromas of raisins, candied orange and fresh red berries, along with some vanilla, soft baking spices, warming earthy ginger and a whiff of very gentle peat smoke" "The finish is long and lingering with a particularly woody and spicy edge to proceedings, with the earthy ginger and delicate peat smoke putting in one last appearance"
700 ml, 41.3% abv, Scotland (Island)Intelligent and resourceful, ravens were the trusted guides of those those early voyagers as they left Northern shores in search of new horizons. Highly prized for their navigation skills, ravens became symbols of good fortune on many a longship sail.
Matured in a high proportion of first-fill sherry seasoned oak casks, Voyage of the Raven delivers mouth-watering flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, black cherries and marzipan, overlaid with their distinctive aromatic smokiness.
This bottling marks the end of the Warrior series which included Einar, Harald, Ragnvald, Sigurd, Svein, and Thorfinn.
700 ml, 57.9% abv, Scotland (Island)This 2006 vintage Highland Park was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail as part of their Cask Strength series. Distilled on 22 June, it was matured in first-fill-bourbon barrels for 8 years and bottled on 6 May 2015.
"Malt, vanilla and fruit aromas. Smokiness develops. The palate is peppery initially with fruit flavours. A creamy finish with hints of bonfire embers"
700 ml, 43% abv, Scotland (Island)Predominantly matured in Sherry seasoned European oak casks, SIGURD is as big and bold as its warrior namesake – with rolling layers of flavour revealing notes of lemon peel, charred pineapple, cinnamon and lavender. The Warrior Series is a collection of single malts created to showcase the very best of Highland Park. Each expression both introduces a key figure from Orkney’s Viking history and demonstrates how the flavours of Highland Park are influenced by cask type.
700 ml, 45.2% abv, Scotland (Island)Together with Ice Edition, FIRE EDITION represents one half of a special two-part bottling, celebrating the great sagas of the Viking age recorded in the oldest Norse poems, the Poetic Edda. The Poetic Edda tells the tale of the apocalyptic battle between the Gods and the Fire and Ice Giants, where the old world perished in a blazing ball of fire and the new world was born from its ashes. Celebrating this re-birth, or Ragnarok, Highland Park released FIRE EDITION, encased in specially commissioned crimson glass. Matured in 100% refill Port seasoned casks – a first for Highland Park – the result is a vibrant single malt with the natural hue of glowing flames. Here, damsons, cinnamon, dried fruit and chocolate dance on the tongue, before sizzling to an intense fruity finish.
Cask Strength, Non-Chill Filtered, Natural Color, ex-Port Cask
700 ml, 53.9% abv, Scotland (Island)Together with Fire Edition, ICE EDITION represents one half of a special two-part bottling, celebrating the great sagas of the Viking age recorded in the oldest Norse poems, the Poetic Edda. In a fittingly chilly reflection of Nilfheim, one of the nine worlds of old Norse mythology and the birthplace of ice, frost and fog, ICE EDITION is presented in a glacial blue bottle. Exquisitely designed to reflect shards of glittering ice, the bottle is encased in a wooden mountain-like cradle and sealed with a wooden stopper. A special release, it delivers intense aromas of cool fresh pineapple and ripe mango sorbet, underpinned by a frosty kick of root ginger, reflecting all the majestic powers of the great Ice Giant, Ymir.
Cask Strength, Non-Chill Filtered, Natural Color, mostly ex-Bourbon Cask